Israel says focus on its nuclear programme threatens disarmament
Israel lashed out at Middle Eastern countries Tuesday for singling out its nuclear programme at a Vienna conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and warned that such a strategy hurts arms control in the Middle East, DPA reported.
Iran, Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries are pushing for a resolution at the annual meeting of IAEA member states that would express concern about Israel's nuclear capabilities, a reference to the country's nuclear weapons arsenal.
Israel's nuclear chief Shaul Chorev pointed out that backers of the resolution include Iran and Syria, which are under investigation for possible nuclear weapons programmes, as well as Libya and Iraq, both of which pursued such weapons.
"Any approach that (...) singles out the State of Israel not only weakens the ability of the international community to confront proliferators and violators, but also defeats the prospect of arms control measures in the Middle East," Chorev said at the IAEA conference.
Arms control would come only after the achievement of lasting regional peace, the director general of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission added.
Last year, Middle Eastern countries succeeded for the first time since 1991 in getting enough votes for an Israel resolution, which also called on the country to sign the global pact banning the spread of nuclear arms. The decision was backed by many developing countries.
The United States has warned that another such resolution might endanger the ongoing peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.